…Allegation, display of fright – APC
Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Government has asked the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, to account for the $308 million (about N112 billion), being proceeds of the sale of the state’s gas turbine power stations allegedly to Sahara Energy belonging to Mr. Tonye Dele Cole.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt, by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, yesterday, the state government said the assets were sold towards the end of Amaechi’s tenure.
Okah alleged that proceeds of the power stations were diverted to fund political activities of the All Progressives Congress (APC ).
“The Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry investigated the spurious sales and indicted the Minister of Transportation and , instead of refunding the money, the minister rushed to court to set aside the findings of the Commission.
“He lost at the High Court and at the Court of Appeal. His appeal to the Supreme Court has been abandoned because, for over a year, he has failed to file a brief of argument.
“This is the reason the minister is arm-twisting his party members in the state and forcing Mr. Tonye Dele Cole on them, as their anointed flag-bearer in the 2019 governorship poll. The reason for Tonye Dele Cole is now better explained”.
The commissioner added that Cole’s choice is to cover the skeletons in Amaechi’s cupboard.
“Instead of explaining why he took such contagious economic steps against the state, the former governor and Minister of Transportation is busy blackmailing the Government of Rivers state and supporting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to disobey existing court orders and harass the Government of Rivers State and her officials.
“For the avoidance of doubts, Rivers state government is not against the fight against corruption.
“Our case is that there are two perpetual court injunctions restraining the Commission from investigating the finances of Rivers state government and, until those injunctions are vacated by a superior court, the Commission is duty bound in law to respect it; irrespective of how worried the former governor may feel today,” Okah added.
Regardless, APC’s state Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, dismissed the state government’s allegation.
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Finebone, in a statement sent to Daily Sun, said Okah’s assertion was a classical display of the fright that has gripped his government “since the possibility of Tamunotonye Dele Cole flying the governorship flag of APC in Rivers state became public knowledge. No governorship aspirant will challenge him.
“On the matter of Tonye Cole’s businesses that cover energy, power and oil and gas within and outside Nigeria, it is absurd to talk about his company buying a single facility in Rivers state.
“Let those talking about it be informed that Tonye Cole’s organisation bought a wide range of power plants from the federal government including as Egbin Power Plant, Afam Power Stations and others.
“The power plant sold by the state government to his company pales into insignificance even if his company had to pay twice…”